The Triumph of Love
Written by Pierre de Marivaux
Directed by William Whitaker
Presented in collaboration with the Performing Arts Department of Washington University and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love was first presented at the Comédie-Italienne in Paris in 1732. The Triumph of Love recounts the intrusion of Princess Léonide into the scholarly and “enlightened” retreat of Hermocrate the philosopher and his dutiful sister Léontine. The Princess has disguised herself as a young man (Phocion) in search of learning, but she really seeks the love of Agis, a stunning young man of princely pedigree living on Hermocrate’s estate.
Hemocrate and Leontine, middle aged and following life-long commitments to reason over passion, are forced to confront the startling possibility of falling madly in love later in life. Is it possible? Isn’t it really just too late? What does it cost to abandon philosophical principles for the volatility of love? In contrast to this, we witness the dazzlingly selfish tactics of young lovers determined to have all that their hearts desire.
The Triumph of Love delivers in subtle and sophisticated ways; it is an eighteenth-century comedic gem that speaks with a wise and contemporary voice.